May starts with a lot of household painting chores but my focus soon moves on to the impending Summer League starting with a lake match at South Cerney’s Wick Water complex on Gillmans and Stait Lakes. The league consists of eleven teams of 4 so the match in effect would be two sections on both lakes. Previously I had visited one of the bad pegs on Stait and a not so good one on Gillmans, the rational being that if I was fortunate to draw on one of the better areas I am confident that I would do okay, but the team result would hinge on those unfortunate to be in the poorer areas, so any method of putting ounces in the net would be worth exploring.
I decided to give Stait another go on Monday 9th, this time on peg 36, almost opposite peg 1, again not a good area compared to the other pegs on that side of the lake but better than peg 1! On walking down I was greeted by a mother with her goslings .
Anyway I set up two rigs (I had decided to leave the rods at home), the first a 0.3g rig with a spread bulk of number 8s for fishing at 2+3 range, 0.16mm line to 0.14mm hooklegth and a 16, teamed up with a soft set 8-12 hollow elastic; the second for fishing at 11m was a similar rig but with a 0.4g slim rugby ball 0.16mm hooklength and bulk plus one dropper, teamed with a black hydro equivalent. The plan was to feed caster on the short line and worm and pellet on the longer line. Three balls of crushed expander went out at 11m followed by a pot of finely chopped worm with some 4mm pellet. The short line was fed with one ball of the expander and caster, as an experiment I also threw a handful of mixed micro and 4mm pellets down to my right a foot out from the bank where a small shrub was growing.
Starting on the short line on maggot saw small perch and rudd put in an appearance before a few skimmers showed up. After about 40 minutes I had a look on the long line and was rewarded with – nothing! Back on the short line saw more skimmers being brought to the net- best about 2lb before a light coloured movement to my right saw a good carp in the margin chomping on my loosefed pellets. I brought the rig in and picked up my long rig, pulling the float down so I was fishing about 2 feet deep. Dropping a banded 6mm in, the float was buffetted around by the swirls of the feeding fish before it disappeared, a lift and a light brown torpedo came hurtling out of the water and did a very good impression of a flying fish before the hook pulled! Another handful of pellets went in and ten minutes later more shadows and swirls appeared, this time the torpedo stayed in the water but the bow wave as it went down the lake with me adding sections suggested a good fish- then the hook pulled! At this point I thought to myself that I need to get a grip and set up a proper margin rig- this was a 12-14 elastic, with a homemade short “BGT 1” style float to 0.20mm Shogun and a 14 hook.
Fifteen minutes later the fish were back feeding and after some swirling the third fish was hooked, this went of like a rocket and I hung on with extra sections in play it was pulling the elastic out to an alarming length as it tried to get to the island 30m away. Somehow I managed to turn it but could not make much headway, 5 minutes into the fight Darren turns up and tells me the average for the lake is 12-18lb with a lot of 20s! To cut a long fight short, it was another 10 minutes before I managed to slip the net under the beast that was hooked in the pectoral! Darren reckoned it was about 17lb!
Despite further attempts and plenty of swirls that was the last action from the margin swim, I did go back on the 2+3 line and managed to hook a carp there which eventually threw the hook. I ended the session with 11 p[erch, 10 rudd, 10 skimmers and 2 roach for about 10lb, giving me plenty of food for thought.
So it was back on Friday, this time to Gillmans and peg 10 with a heavy wind blowing left to right (somehow the other side of the island was flat calm!) and after 5minutes when the aerator on peg 9 switched on a heavy tow!
I set up a 2+2 rig (waste of time as did not get a single indication), and a rig for 10m, which was about as much as I could hold in the wind. I actually swapped the rig from the 0.5g I had been using to a 0.8g ion order to try and improve the presentation. I had introduced 3 balls of groundbait laced with pellet and corn at the start and after no bites close in I went out and stayed on the long line. My first bite came after 2 hours and I had to scale down to a 0.10mm hooklength to get any action. Gillmans has very few if any carp but lots of tench and bream. It was not until I introduced a bit of chopped worm that I got any joy (and not a lot of that!) with some rudd coming to the net. To save you the tedium of my misfortune I ended up with 8 rudd and a bream of about 1.5lb for a total of 3-4lb.
The other people on my bank far equally badly (or worse!), however the other side of the island fished brilliantly, Darren turned up later just before I left and he had 20lb of rudd on the waggler from the other side! Still I now have a plan of attack for whatever lake or side of lake I draw!